ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - On the Angelina County Commissioner agenda on Thursday was a heavily discussed item: the consideration of adding back a public forum to the meetings.
In September of 2015, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to remove the public forum. On Thursday, the item was revisited under the direction of the newly elected County Judge Don Lymbery. It’s an issue he ran his election campaign on.
“I want to open this up for comment from the commissioners,” Lymbery said.
There was not a single seat to spare in the packed room on Thursday as the newly elected county judge attempted to make good on his campaign promise to return a public forum to commissioner court meetings.
“I would restrict the speaking to three minutes. I know occasionally that there will be other things than just the items that are addressed, but that would give everybody in the public an opportunity to address to any of the items that are coming up for consideration,” Lymbery said.
After lengthy discussion by commissioners, the idea of allowing a time for the public to speak during meetings was unanimously denied Thursday.
Commissioner Terry Pitts expressed his concerns.
“Here’s what they said. And it seems to have gotten unproductive and went on the kind of say to where it was some badgering of the court and stuff like that...And that’s what worries me,” Pitts said, after having conversations with former commissioners.
But commissioners said they will revisit the idea after exploring potential decorum guidelines.
“Basically it’s been tabled for today. What we intend to do, what I intend to do, I asked the court if I can go out and get legal counsel to set up a decorum that the court can follow during public forum and open forum,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Bobby Cheshire.
Cheshire said he will work with the county attorney to complete the legal research to create guidelines for public forum in the next few days.
“I was hoping it would go through, but commissioners court is a court of five different individuals and the commissioners didn’t agree with it, and so I need to come back and resubmit it in a forum that they’ll agree to,” Lymbery said.
As to when the item will be revisited by commissioners court, a date has not been set yet.
In the meantime, commissioners have said in court to contact their office regarding any questions or concerns.